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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Second Amendment May Be On Jan. 13 Committee Agenda

Issue Date: December 30, 2021

After hot debate at its meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 21, Marinette County Board voted by a narrow 15 to 13 margin to send a proposed resolution supporting Second Amendment Right to Bear Arms resolution back to the Administrative Committee with instructions to consider a resolution supporting all Constitutional rights.

The Administrative Committee's next meeting is set for 9 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 13, and the issue may be on the agenda. Administrative Committee members are Supervisors Tricia Grebin, Stan Gruszynski, Don Pazynski, Connie Seefeldt, and County Board Chair John Guarisco. All members voted in support of the Second Amendment Right to Bear Arms resolution at the committee meeting on Thursday, Dec. 16, but at the board meeting on Dec. 21, Gruszynski made the motion to return it to committee with instructions to look instead at a resolution supporting the entire Constitution and all amendments.

Several speakers addressed County Board during time for public comment at the Dec. 21 meeting, and a number of letters addressed to the board were included in information for supervisors. Guarisco was asked to read the letters aloud, but declined, cautioning that in future they could be flooded with letters on whatever subjects came up and would be required to have them read aloud at the meeting because a precedent had been set.

Speakers from the public included Town of Peshtigo resident Wendell Johnson, who cited other pressing problems that he felt should be taking the board's attention instead of gun rights.

"As of last Friday, Wisconsin was one of the top states for new Covid 19 infections and Marinette County was one of the two top infection rate counties in Wisconsin. Our health workers are exhausted; and hospitals are filling up and Covid patients (primarily the non-vaccinated) are the main reason. At the same time Marinette County is dealing with a PFAS contamination that is affecting the health and economics of many citizens and is ongoing," he said.

Johnson went on, "Strangely, despite facing pandemic viruses and contaminated drinking water, we see yet again an attempt to distract important time and consideration by the Marinette County Board for a frivolous and ill-conceived issued about ignoring common sense federal and state gun laws. No one in this room has had a gun confiscated; but probably do know someone who has had Covid. If they had the courage, backers of this grandiose proposal would admit their efforts are political more than patriotic.

"We all on a daily basis abide by federal, state and county laws dealing with speed limits, hazardous wastes, smoking and other important health and safety issues. Reasonable laws regarding gun use and possession benefit all citizens and do nothing to decrease tourism and our economy.

He urged County Board "...to set aside this absurd "proclamation" and deal with our pressing real and urgent concerns," and concluded, "We should not be looking to Florence County for leadership on this foolish and political proclamation. We are a part of a nation and state, unity and cooperation are important for our nation to function properly. Your time is valuable and limited, please use it responsibly, be real patriots!"

Speaking for the United Constitutionalists organization, Cheri Freeland of Goodman told the board that recently, some federal officials had made blatant statements indicating their intentions to try to push through new firearms regulations and restrictions, "many of which are direct assaults against rights guaranteed by the second amendment."

She continued, "We are seeing a huge increase in violent crime and lawlessness in many big cities across this country that seems to be spreading. There has never been a time when it has been more imperative that people are assured that their means of protecting their families, their property and themselves is supported and protected by their local government.

"The concern people have on this issues in this county is indicated by the more than 2500 signatures from Marinette County residents we have collected in support of this effort. Sheriff Sauve has also stated in his position statement that he intends to support the Constitution and protect citizens' second amendment rights and that he, and I quote, "...will exercise sound discretion to not enforce any unconstitutional firearms laws', end quote." Sheriff Sauve would defend our rights whether you take this action or not, Freeland told the group, and added, "I believe you would want to do everything you can to support your sheriff and not leave him out there alone."

She also had letters of support from 12th District State Senator, Mary Felzkowski, and State Representatives Jeff Mursau and Elijah Behnke, and provided copies to the board.

Felzkowski's letter stated: "... I would like to express my support for the resolution that would make Marinette County a 2nd Amendment sanctuary.

"Our brave forefathers fought relentlessly, offering up their very blood, sweat, and tears to ensure that citizens of the United States of America were protected from an overreaching government infringing on their God-given rights. We have the freedom to peacefully assemble; speak our minds; discuss the news; practice our religions; and last but not lease, bear arms.

"In Wisconsin, we've further elaborated on that 2nd Amendment in our State constitution, stating, "the people have the right to keep and bear arms for security, defense, hunting, recreation or any other lawful purpose.'

Felzkowski's letter continued, "While you and I may believe this language is crystal clear, we cannot take any chances with a federal government that has time and time again threatened to take this right away. Now more than ever, it is imperative that we solidify the rights laid our clearly in the 2nd Amendment for the residents of Marinette County.

"If the federal government never infringes on our right, that's great news. But if they do, and we don't have protections in place, we may be sorry. As the saying goes, "Guns are like parachutes: If you need one and don't have it, you'll probably never need it again.' If the federal government comes for our guns and we don't have these protections, there's a good chance we'll never need them again.

"With that said, I urge the members of the Marinette County Board to support the United Constitutionalists of Marinette County's proposal to make Marinette County a 2nd Amendment sanctuary," Felzkowski concluded.

Mursau also shared his support for the effort to make Marinette County a Second Amendment Sanctuary County, although the resolution in its final form did not include the term "sanctuary." Initially the resolution had been based on a "Sanctuary County" resolution adopted by Florence County about two years ago, but subsequently rejected by Marinette County Board at the time.

"The right to own and bear arms is enshrined in the constitution, but recent efforts have been made to chip away at that right. That is why I am supportive of the United Constitutionalists on Marinette County's call to help further protect these rights by making Marinette a Second Amendment Sanctuary County," Mursau's letter declared.

He added, "One of the major issues facing our community is the increasing push to restrict gun ownership rights for law-abiding citizens. The ability to own a firearm is not only protected, but it is essential for our citizens to ensure the safety and security of our communities and families. We've been hearing talk from the federal level that President Biden and Congress could pass laws to more tightly regulate gun sales and ownership in a misguided effort to reduce firearm violence. Unfortunately, these restrictions will only harm those of us who are law abiding citizens, and the criminals will still find ways to get ahold of a firearm.

"As a parent and grandparent, there is nothing more important to me than the safety of my family, and regardless of political leanings, I know this is something everyone can agree on. As such, I believe there is reason to address the issue of firearm violence from various fronts while also preserving our Second Amendment rights, such as through mental health and violence prevention efforts. In past sessions, to address the concerns that folks have raised with gun violence, I've supported bills and budgets that have allocated funding for mental health programs, grants to help with school security, and supporting violence prevention programs. These efforts will do more to reduce gun violence than additional restrictions on lawful gun owners will ever do.

Mursau said unfortunately the better methods of dealing with firearm violence are not supported by our President or even Wisconsin's Attorney General. "At the state level, I've consistently fought to preserve our right to bear arms and right to due process and will continue to do so. However, becoming a Second Amendment Sanctuary County can only further protect those rights from the bad-actors in government both at the state and federal level," Mursau's letter stated, and concluded, "It's for these reasons and more why I urge the members of the Marinette County Board to support the United Constitutionalists of Marinette County's proposal to make Marinette County a Second Amendment Sanctuary County and take this step to help preserve our constitutional rights. Thank you for your consideration, and please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions."

Mursau had been a guest speaker at a meeting of the United Constitutionalists in Goodman in November, along with Florence County Sheriff Dan Miller, who is a former Marinette county Deputy and one of the primary supporters of his county's declaration as a sanctuary county for gun rights.

Rep. Behnke's letter also supported making marinette county a Second Amendment Sanctuary county. "The founding fathers intended for the Second Amendment to protect our God-given right to self defense and to protect our liberty against any possibly tyrannical government," he declared, adding that having just fought and defeated a tyrannical government themselves, they knew first hand the dangers when it oversteps its bounds.

"One of the first things any state does when it becomes tyrannical is confiscate privately-owned firearms," Behnke's letter went on. "If citizens comply, then they become powerless to stop future aggressions against them."

He continued, "An armed populace forces the government to respect them and their freedom. An armed populace maintains their standing as free citizens, with rights and liberties. A disarmed populace can be turned into subjects on a whim, who only exist to be ruled over."

He said by designating itself as a Sanctuary County, Marinette County board would guarantee that anyone within its borders would always have the right to keep and bear arms, and be protected should the state or federal government attempt to unconstitutionally disarm the people.

"complying with unconstitutional orders only enables tyranny...by passing this proposal, you can guarantee tyranny will never have a home in Marinette County."

The resolution as ultimately endorsed by the Administrative Committee and then rejected by the narrow 15 to 13 County Board vote did not mention "Sanctuary County," but did pass along a clear message of opposition to any State or Federal attempts to limit the right to bear arms or place unreasonable taxes or restrictions on purchase of arms or ammunition.


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